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Getting the most out of the PhD experience. Work / life / social balance.

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Presentation on theme: "Getting the most out of the PhD experience. Work / life / social balance."— Presentation transcript:

1 Getting the most out of the PhD experience

2 Work / life / social balance

3 PhD Process Full time or part time Research (process and methods) Fieldwork – travel, library Writing (lots of) Thinking creatively Analytical process Writing up Viva

4 Formal stuff APG Annual review(s) and reports Meetings with supervisor(s) Training – research and generic skills etc Forms – lots of! Writing up (horrors of) Viva

5 Extra - Formal stuff Student representatives Student meetings Think Tanks Blackboard resources Seminars e.g. brown bags, at other Universities Conferences – giving papers / listening to papers / planning! Papers / articles for publication Book / exhibition reviews Links with other departments and Universities Links with academics

6 Informal stuff Attic blog for and by MS PhD students - Tea in the Attic (also New History Lab, Café Scientifique, Archaeology Cake, English etc.) Socialising – Lansdowne, cinema etc Museum crawls and visits Research discussions (in the tea room, corridors) Getting to know other PhD students

7 Life – doesn’t stop Friends and family + children House – cleaning, washing, tidying Cleanliness Shopping Health and well being Work – full or part time Being ill

8 Doubt Fear Anger (wrath) Isolation Time Gluttony (information) Over-confidence (fraud) Limbo Lost for words PHD Emotions Inspiration Excitement Creativity Confidence Eloquence Community Independence Satisfaction

9 Challenges Isolation and loneliness Anxiety and feeling overwhelmed Stress and panic Feeling not good enough Not ‘intellectual’ Poor health Deadlines Perils of always being last minute

10 Positives Your own work Hard work can be satisfying Independence – thinking, researching, writing Part of a wider community = support Excitement of being creative, thinking on a higher level, making a breakthrough in theory Three years (or more) to focus on what interests you the most Many people get through it!

11 Big question… What can we do to make the most of our PhD experiences while looking after ourselves mentally and physically?

12 Some answers – how we cope Set goals – and be realistic (could develop these with other students) Making pie charts to show progress (e.g. green done and red not done) Peer group to support each other e.g. reading chapters, honest dialogue, discuss goals – outside perspective If stuck or you fall into the ‘Pit of Procrastination’ (putting it off until tomorrow) set yourself small, achievable goals – not big goals like ‘must finish my paper’ but write a section or paragraph Treat yourself to a day of doing nothing – you need a rest Ban yourself from the Internet Treat the PhD as a job – only working 9-5pm Have a PhD buddy or mentor – but you must be compatible! Come to know your own capacity for work – also your boundaries Develop a routine that suits you – learn how you work best Ask questions – don’t worry about feeling stupid Use Facebook and social networking tools to your benefit Change study places e.g. library, PhD room – a new place can work wonders If you need support be focused on what you need – set clear goals for the person Talk to as many people as possible – you are not alone Transferable skills – what skills do you have that can support your PhD work? Use anxiety productively Socialise!


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